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Starting family history research - please add tips

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ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


Joy Report 10 Mar 2014 16:26



Joy Report 28 Nov 2013 20:50

For David.


brigid Report 24 Nov 2013 09:37

diminutive names can be useful
I nearly missed finding my nana's baptism certificate because Charlotte was down as Lottie.
Diminutives are sometimes used on census if youput the persons Initial on search it works where jack is used for john ,but not for Billy as william
My scots grandma was known as Polly but was christened Mary ,her sister Peggy was actually Margaret ..i didn't know these were common diminutives .

I expected a name like Hircanus to be easy to find but on 1 census he was down as Cane .

Also if you're starting from family knowledge the relative may have been known by one name that seemingly has nothing to do with their christian name or middle name on records. so worth searching just surname + place /date of birth too


Joy Report 19 Nov 2013 20:16



Susan10146857 Report 11 Apr 2013 13:45

my tip would be.....don't always believe what family members tell you, they may have it wrong. Always check it out, which also goes for any website trees, there are many many on there that are copied and pasted by so many people that the have little or no resemblance to anyone's family. Beware of the tree collectors, by the end of it you may not be who you think you are :-D


Joy Report 10 Apr 2013 21:09

Any more tips?


Joy Report 14 Mar 2013 17:08

For caz.


Joy Report 15 Jan 2013 23:07

For Richard.


Robert Report 17 Sep 2012 11:15

i find when i have come up against a brick wall when researching my family, i will leave that section of that family alone for a few months then return to them. this enables me to look at it with a clear mind. as most of us sometimes take on more research than we can handle, and we confuse ourselves


Malcolm Report 16 Sep 2012 18:07

Keep all family photographs safely no matter how recent, and especially the older B&W ones. Learn about acid free papers and photo storage methods. Write information on the back in pencil and cover that with acid free paper also. Scan them to files on a memory stick and copy the images to labelled CD's. Do not just leave them on your hard drive. Do the same with new digital images. They will be history to someone someday.

Browse old family address books and christmas card lists you might find around the house. They can be a treasure trove of addresses and names.


GlasgowLass Report 6 Sep 2012 23:38

One piece of advice that I forgot to add is simple......
Always Do The Maths.
Ensure that the information fits with the timescale and is technically possible before making a definitive decision.


JustDinosaurJill Report 6 Sep 2012 23:15

If you ask for help or information from us on here, a please and/or thank you will get you much further. I can only speak for myself but if I read a request for info and the poster hasn't bothered to say either or both, I click off and go look at the next post.


Robert Report 6 Sep 2012 23:08

If you can find who you are looking Try there middle name, For Example My Great Aunt was Born Jane Lilian, but on her marriage Cert. Its was Lilian Jane. He mother was Jane,so she grow up being called Lilian. Also be careful with stepparents My Grandmother was born Nash , but when my Grandmother in her twenties adopted her stepfathers name,so her marriage she used the surname Matthews not Nash , so it worth trying a combination of the names that have been called


MarieCeleste Report 16 Jul 2012 23:44

Be clear about what you want to achieve, and embark on the journey for the right reasons - don't become just a "name collector" or try to get as far back in time just because you can.

These were real people - your FAMILY, not just statistics or random names to put on a computer generated tree.


GlasgowLass Report 16 Jul 2012 22:18

Traditional Scottish Naming Pattern
If your ancestry lies in Scotland, it is good to know how the pattern worked.
Up until the start of the 20th Century, most families adhered to this.

1st son- named for his paternal grandfather
2nd son- named for his maternal grandfather
3rd son- named for his own father

1st daughter- named for her maternal grandmother
2nd daughter named for her paternal grandmother
3rd daughter named for her own mother

If there were more than 3 sons. more than 3 daughters, or if the name had already been allocated, the parents simply moved up one generation and chose an unused one from their own ancestry.

I started out in family history after my mum in law asked if I could find some info on her ancestry

She knew that her own, not so common first name came from her maternal grandmother.
I then discovered that the maternal grandmother was also named for her grandmother... and so on
The name had been handed down in the correct naming pattern order since at least 1750 until the 1920's
I have also researched my own Scottish lines and found that the pattern was used there too.
It ultimitely means that there are many, many antedescendants bearing the same names.

I cannot find any info on parentage of my gggg grandmother, ( died pre 1841) but without a doubt, I KNOW that her father was called Richard.... it was given to her 2nd son, and used by each of her own children in the correct place within their own families.
The T.S.N.P is a fantastic tool if you know how to apply the rules.

Anne ( named for great grandmother!)


Joy Report 16 Jul 2012 21:46

Any more tips for starting out on the research road?


Nannylicious Report 31 May 2011 22:01

Never never rule anything out and keep a notepad of any little bits of information you come across. Something turned up recently that I had originally recorded about 4 years ago but had put to one side because I couldn't validate the information.


Mark Report 31 May 2011 21:53

Ask family members - Not always that simple when your fostered or adopted but all leaflets and websites seem to say the same thing over and over again.


Joy Report 31 May 2011 17:37

I know that certificates cost money, but it is necessary sometimes to buy them in order to go backwards and be 99.99% certain that one's ancestral research is accurate.

Start with yourself - then your parents' marriage - their birth - their parents' marriage - their birth and so on.


Joy Report 17 Jul 2010 23:10

Only you know just how much you know about yourself and your immediate or distant family. Sometimes the memory needs a nudge. Do ask questions of relatives and friends; all too often one hears "I wish I had been interested enough to ask Mum and Dad, and Gran and Grandad, but now it is too late".

So, we ask what we can when we can, if we can, and the rest we have to try to find out ourselves. And, in due course, it may be possible that you may know some facts that were not known by your parents and grandparents! :-)